Front row l-r; Rose Rob, Gloria McKissack, Rosetta Miller Perry, Edwina Hefner, Chapter President Luvenia Harrison, Phyllis Qualls, Janice Woodard, Jalilah Haqq, Gloria Conley; Middle row l-r; Janice Walsh, Wanda Miller Benson, Delores Stokes, Dr. Shawn Joseph, Stephanie Williams, Hellena Conley and Belinda Webb; Back row l-r; Joyce Ball, Sandra Long Weaver, Pat Rees, Dorinda Carter, Carolyn Piphus, June Michaux, Vivian Wilhoite, Gwen Brown Felder, Candice Waller, Charlotte Mann, Rene’ Whittaker, Charelle Lans, Adrienne Fancher and Sondrea Tolbert. Photos by Kelvin Braxton and René Whittaker

By Tribune Staff

It’s all about the Jewels, that the attitude of the Nashville Chapter, Les Gemmes, Inc. members who work tirelessly for the benefit of their Jewels.  These are young ladies from Middle School through College, who are selected to participate in the organization’s ‘Lighting the Path for Girls.’  “The group strives to expose the Jewels to activities, so they will develop positive attitude about themselves and their futures,” said Rene’ Whittaker, chair of the Lighting the Path for Girls Committee.

The dynamic group of ladies, hold two main fundraisers a year to provide funds for the many activities the girls experience.  There was much support for the outstanding young ladies at the 12th Annual Literary Luncheon.  President of Les Gemmes Nashville, Luvenia Harrison said, “This year’s event continues the annual support from the community in order to assist our outstanding Jewels.”

There were three outstanding authors featured this year.  Dr. Jamye Coleman Williams, author, lecturer and strong woman, was a speaker.  She talked about how the AME Church Journal was established and that she was the first-female publisher of the publication, The AME Church Review. 

Marcus Perrusquia, author, “A Spy in Canaan, How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement.”  His very fascinating story had the audience in awe listening to his evidence that a local individual could spy on his own people. Perrusquia explained that one of the main targets of the FBI was an African American female, who was a federal career employee and now lives in Nashville.

Dr. Shawn Joseph spoke boldly about the state of the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. From graduation rates to testing scores, there has been an improvement in student performance, he said.  Dr. Joseph, author of the book “The Principal’s Guide to the first 100 Days of the School Year: Creating Instructional Momentum.”  

In order to support the Jewels, the Tina Hodges Scholarship Program was announced.  Hodges, Vice President of Advance Financial, supports the Jewels on an annual basis.

Additionally, the Evelyn Fancher Award was presented to Dr. Jamye  Coleman Williams, a centurion for her outstanding career in education, religion and community organizations.

Still the focus was the Jewels, who paraded on stage and wowed the standing room only ballroom with the poise, and intellect.  One Jewel, graduates this year, and will receive a scholarship from Les Gemmes. Moniaka Bonds, the only graduating senior this year, plans to attend Tennessee State Univ.

Chair of the 2019 luncheon was Phyllis Qualls, “It was an honor to chair this year’s event and focus on the work we do for our Jewels,” she said.

The sponsors of the event included Advance financial, Scholarship Sponsor, The Tennessee Tribune, Sustaining Sponsor, Sheats Endodontic Group, Presenting Sponsor, The Harrison Foundation and the African Methodist Episcopal church Sunday School Union, Supporting Sponsors.

The next major fundraiser for Les Gemmes is the Last Summer Fling, which takes place on Saturday, July 27 at 635 Nocturne Drive from 3 p.m.-7 p.m.  It is billed as the last major fun event before the Labor Day Holiday ends the summer vacation period.  “We appreciate the community support we continually receive for our Jewels,” said Harrison.